The ancient Egyptians were respectful towards the animals that shared their world and associated many of them with deities or positive human characteristics. However, no animal was held in such esteem as the cat. Cats were closely connected to a number of gods and goddesses, and there is evidence that they were considered to be demi-gods in their own right. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices for more than 30 centuries. Several Ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fetility and power The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat. Cats were praised for killing venomous snakes and protecting the Pharaoh since at least the First Dynasty of Egypt. The protective function of cats is indicated in the Book of the Dead, where a cat represents Ra and the benefits of the sun for life on Earth. Cats were also associated with the “Eye of Ra” and linked to the goddess Isis because they were perceived to be great mothers.
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Malakoot Art Gallery
Dina Shalaby is a Russian-Egyptian visual artist focusing on modern art inspired by Ancient Egypt. Using mixed media and her deep passion for pharaonic Egypt, she creates pieces inspired by the past and with a story for the future. With a major in journalism, a master’s in international business and seven years at an international management consulting firm across three continents, Dina converted to her art passion a year ago and currently lives between Cairo and New York. She recently held her debut exhibition and hopes to continue exploring and sharing the universal beauty, timeless wisdom and inspiration of Ancient Egypt through her work.